If there’s one thing better than getting a new phone, it’s getting a bunch of fun new accessories to fully deck it out.
In the first half of the year, we were dressing up the iPhone 12 with accessories newly made possible with MagSafe, Apple’s built-in magnet technology. Near the end of 2021, we finally got the iPhone 13 line with cute colors and fancier cameras.
If you’re looking to jazz up your iPhone, look no further. Below, we’ve got the best accessories of 2021, from phone cases to wireless chargers and beyond.
1. The Wireless Charging Stand That Can Do It All: Belkin Boost Charge Pro 3-in-1
I’ll be honest: I really don’t love wireless chargers. I just usually prefer the sure connection and fast speeds of a classic wired charger. But the Belkin 3-in-1 ($149.99) took everything I loved about wired charging and put it into wireless charging, for THREE devices. Yeah, yeah, I know, this is a list for iPhones, but hey, this is iPhone, plus more!
It’s a 15W charging stand for my iPhone 12 or 13, Apple Watch, and AirPods, so of course, it’s most beneficial for people who also own all of these devices. I particularly love the floating design of the MagSafe phone charger. The MagSafe tech makes sure the wireless connection is perfect every time, and the floating aspect forces me to put my phone down for an extended period of time (a bonus, in my opinion).
The two other charging surfaces function perfectly well, and the device centralizes all my wireless charging into one gadget. Plus, when you do the math of buying separate chargers and adapters, the $150 price tag is very worth it.
2. Is It a Phone? Is It a Purse? No, It’s a String Ting!
This is an iPhone accessory that is pure fun with a touch of utility. A String Ting (£35-£150) is the resurgence of the cell phone charm, but these charms attach to an iPhone case and turn your phone into a wristlet. The beaded charms are handmade and range in price depending on the material used.
Founder Rachel-Steed Middleton started String Ting as a quarantine fundraiser for aid organizations and those affected by the pandemic in London, and the small business has caught the attention (and phones) of celebs like Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa, Olivia Rodrigo, and more. I expected to find String Tings frivolous, but they really turned my phone into an accessory that I now coordinate my outfit with, and they’ve definitely saved me from dropping my phone at least a couple of times.
3. Best Double Agent Accessory: MOFT Phone Wallet
Phone wallets are my absolute favorite phone accessory, because I hate carrying a bag around. Prior to MagSafe, I despised ruining a perfectly good phone case with the sticky glue residue required to attach phone wallets, but I sucked it up and did it anyway. Now, with MagSafe, my love for phone wallets has only deepened, and MOFT’s version goes above and beyond.
The MOFT phone wallet ($27) is both wallet and phone stand, comes in five colors, and snaps onto your iPhone 12 via MagSafe. The additional magnetic flap on the front part is what turns it into a handy stand. To me, phone wallets are all about simplifying life. MOFT adding in a second, simple use with the phone stand element, and attaching it all via magnets? Chef’s kiss. No notes.
4. The Wireless Charger That Made Me Believe: Apple MagSafe Wireless Charger
I know, I know, it makes no sense for me to say I don’t like wireless chargers and then include two different wireless chargers on this list. But Apple’s MagSafe technology is what has really turned wireless chargers around for me, and it would be a shame to leave off the charger that does MagSafe best.
The Apple original ($39) clicks onto the back of my phone exactly as it’s meant to every single time, ensuring optimal charging speeds. If I want to be using my phone while charging it, I can, because MagSafe makes the wireless charger stick to my phone. My only annoyance is the fact that you have to buy a separate USB-C adapter, because nothing Apple makes comes with the adapter anymore. Urgh, curse you, Apple overlords! And yet, I’ll still use it.
5. Best Hands-Free Accessory: Sonix Pedestal Phone Stand
Another MagSafe-optimized accessory, the Sonix phone stand ($30), surprised me in several ways. First, it’s a really nice place to put my phone when I’m working from home. If I need to watch a relevant video or scroll Twitter real quick, the stand is a reliable spot to pop my phone, adjust the angle, and hold onto my device.
Secondly, and way more exciting: The stand solved a particularly annoying personal problem. I like to FaceTime people while I’m cooking on my kitchen counter. Doing so blocks the speakers and makes it really hard for the other person to hear me.
Putting my phone on the Sonix stand solves this problem, because the MagSafe tech and the adjustable angle makes your phone float, speakers completely unblocked. Plus, the stand is small and light, and I can move it anywhere I want while I’m bustling about the kitchen or moving workstations. Talk about a pleasant surprise!
6. How to Go From Wannabe Photographer to Pro-In-Training: Moment Fisheye Lens
This one’s for all the phone photography enthusiasts out there who want to take their hobby to the next level. While the iPhone 12’s cameras are great, Moment has a ton of detachable phone lenses that you can add to create cool effects on your photos. There are plenty of options, but perhaps the most beginner-friendly and immediately cool-looking option is the fisheye lens ($117).
The lens clips on to a special mount on Moment’s phone cases, and makes your photos or videos look stretched out in an aesthetically pleasing way. One of Moment’s Gear Guides called the effect similar to a Backstreet Boys music video, and recommended it for vlogging, specifically. All you have to do is twist it on to your phone, figure out what to shoot, and voila, your photos are no longer so vanilla-flavored.
7. The Ultimate iPhone 12 or 13 Case: OtterBox Figura
Of course, the most essential iPhone accessory is a good phone case. The OtterBox Figura ($49.95) series ticks off all the boxes, especially for the iPhone 12 or 13 line. What are those boxes, you ask? The ideal iPhone 12 or 13 case must implement MagSafe, be easy to put on or take off your phone, feel good in the hand, protect your phone, and obviously, look good.
The Figura does all of the above. It has built-in MagSafe, which means your MagSafe accessories will actually stick to your phone and work through the case. It’s made of a soft silicone material and has a nice slim shape, which makes it very easy to slip on and off your phone AND doesn’t feel too bulky in the hand. It covers what it needs to, with a nice small raised lip around the edge to protect your screen if you drop the phone. And personally, I love the color selection. Boxes, ticked.
8. A Gimbal That Can Do It All: The PowerVision S1
If you want to really put the new Cinematic and Macro video modes to use on the iPhone 13 Pro, you’ll want to make sure all that footage turns out steady. The PowerVision S1 serves as a gimbal so that every shot is perfectly stable, whether you’re filming in one place on tripod mode or running after your subject with it in hand.
It comes with a clip-on attachment with a super strong magnet to make sure your phone won’t fall off, and the gimbal connects to an app that will track your face while filming — so you don’t even have to tap on the screen to stop or start filming. Instead, the app recognizes certain hand gestures to start filming or take pictures. On top of all of this, the device also works as a wireless power bank, so if your phone runs out of juice, you can power it back up just by laying it on the PowerVision S1. It’s everything I could ask for and more.
As 2021 comes to a close, we can only expect more innovated updates to our iPhone gadgets and gizmos. Here’s to an even brighter new year – and the next iPhone unveiling.
Related Video: iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro review